Jakarta Globe | Insight

Modest Wear Chic

The Muslim fashion industry is gaining strength in Indonesia, with an increasing number of modest wear e-commerce retailers emerging, as women start to use the internet and social media to promote and experiment with clothes that cover them up but still keep them stylish.

“Modesty” in a Muslim context may be expressed by wearing loosefitting outer garments, long-sleeved, crew-necked tops, and covering one’s head with a headscarf. The headgear, hijab or jilbab, is used by more than half of women in Indonesia.

In Jakarta, one of the most popular markets to buy garments is Tanah Abang. Its Block G section hosts sellers who offer all shapes and shades of shawls and headscarves.

Often called “pashmina” in Indonesian, the scarves usually are not made of cashmere, as the name would suggest. Some, of course, will be produced from the luxurious wool and their price will reflect it, but many are inexpensive fabrics that can be bought for even Rp 20,000 ($1.5) a piece.

Although modest wear already reaches fashion shows and runways, the biggest stake in the sector still belongs to those who court middle- and lower-income consumers.

The Tanah Abang market is one of the most popular places in Jakarta to shop for Muslim wear. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
The Tanah Abang market is one of the most popular places in Jakarta to shop for Muslim wear. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Peci, caps worn by Muslim men, are sold at the Tanah Abang Market in Central Jakarta on July 31. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Peci, caps worn by Muslim men, are sold at the Tanah Abang Market in Central Jakarta on July 31. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Amanah is one of the famous stores in the Tanah Abang Market, selling Muslim wear and products from Saudi Arabia. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Amanah is one of the famous stores in the Tanah Abang Market, selling Muslim wear and products from Saudi Arabia. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
A woman sells hair accessories at the Tanah Abang Market on Thursday (31/07). (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
A woman sells hair accessories at the Tanah Abang Market on Thursday (31/07). (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Inexpensive ready-to-wear headscarves, called 'instant pashmina,' can be bought for even Rp 20,000 ($1.5) a piece. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Inexpensive ready-to-wear headscarves, called ‘instant pashmina,’ can be bought for even Rp 20,000 ($1.5) a piece. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
A woman in burqa walks through the Tanah Abang Market's headscarves section on July 31. Face veils are still a rare sight in Indonesia. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
A woman in burqa walks through the Tanah Abang Market’s headscarves section on July 31. Face veils are still a rare sight in Indonesia. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
The market's main headscarves section lies in front of its Block G building. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
The market’s main headscarves section lies in front of its Block G building. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)

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